What reason does Hamlet give for being so cautious in taking revenge and so thorough in his search for evidence? Is his reason convincing?
Hello. My english is not the best, so please apologize, if I make some mistakes. I want to buy "Hamlet", written in the original english, which was used by Shakespeare. Most of the books, which I have found on the internet, are rewritten in modern-english. So, I just want to know, if there is any book, written in the original english, which you can recommend. I am looking forward to your answers; thank you! Greetings Max
(This is extracted from my free and ad-free Hamlet website, which I've been working on for over 20 years. For more, please google for "Smith's Hyper Hamlet, then see my introductory essay, "How to Love Hamlet." ) I Know a Hawk from a Handsaw - Hamlet and the Spanish Armada HAMLET (2.2.387-388} I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is southerly I know a hawk from a handsaw. BERNARDO (1.1.44-47} Last night of all, When yond same star that's westward from the pole Had made his course to illume that part of heaven Where now it burns, The "pole" is the North Star. "Westward from the pole" would be "north-northwest." Thus "I am but mad, north-northwest" means that Hamlet is only mad when under the influence of his father's ghost. "Pole" might also be an allusion to Reginald Pole, who, as Bloody Mary's Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury, liked to call himself "the Pole Star" because he thought of himself as the guiding star about which the English people revolved. Please see Shakespeare, Breakspear, and Broken Pole (The Prophesy) (Note: I mark my speculations with green italics. The rest is accepted historical fact.) But Reginald Pole died of a broken heart when Queen Mary died and England reverted to Protestantism. Thirty years later, Queen Mary's widower, King Phillip of Spain sent the Duke of Medina Sidonia with the Spanish Armada to bring England back to the Catholic Church by "strong hands and terms compulsatory." But like Hamlet, Medina was but mad north-north-west: when the wind southerly, ) he was sane. On August 8, Saint Dominic's Day, Medina decided that if the wind continued to blow from the south (which it did) he would have to abandon the attack on England. He was unable to recapture the faith of Englishmen by force. He did "it wrong, being so majestical, to offer it the show of violence, for it is, as the air, invulnerable, and vain blows malicious mockery." St Dominic had advocated reasoning with heretics to bring them back to the Church by persuasion rather than burning them. The significance of St Dominic's Day was not lost on English Catholics. From the context, "I know the difference between a hawk and a handsaw" clearly means "I am in my right mind." However, I don't know why Shakespeare used that phrase to denote sanity. It might be related to the following line in Hamlet's instructions to the players: HAMLET (3.2.4) . . . Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may say, the whirlwind of passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance that may give it smoothness. In the tempest that had blown his Armada off course, Medina acquired and begat a temperance to abandon his vain blows against England. Perhaps "hand" is a pun on "Armada", similar to "Fort-in-bras" (near French for "strong arm"). It is worth noting that Shakespeare took pains to let us know that there had been a 30-year interval between the time old Fortinbras died and the time young Fortinbras came to reclaim those lands by strong hand and terms compulsatory. There was also a 30-year interval between the time Queen Mary died and the time her widower, Prince Phillip of Spain, sent the Spanish Armada to attempt to reclaim England by strong hand and terms compulsatory. Elsewhere Hamlet alludes to another war to recover lost land, with his cryptic reference to old Jephtha. HAMLET (2.2.418) Am I not i' the right, old Jephthah? . . . HAMLET (2.2.426) . . . 'It came to pass, as most like it was, "As most...See also:
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